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Protospore
August 16th 2008, 04:21 CEST by BobJustBob

Maxis/EA have quietly been releasing new programs to their Spore site. These are unpolished, mostly undocumented development prototypes used to test and balance gameplay concepts. Such as the ParticleMan prototype, which comes from early in the process when the game was still being called SimEverything. The plan was for the game to simulate an entire universe, with you or some procedural generation algorithm manipulating gravity and space dust in order to coalesce planets on which life would later hopefully arise. A few of these prototypes are almost playable games and the rest are interesting simulations if you can figure out what the hell is going on. For example, some of the Gaming Steve forum members delved into BIOME and crafted their own rulesets.

I'm amazed that Maxis is willing to release these. I can only imagine the deluge of help requests they must be receiving from people who ignore the fact that this is unsupported software. Or what kind of backlash this could cause; if people cancel planned purchases based on demos, are they likely to do the same here? Might these actually increase sales? It does seem like a nice way to lead up to release and keep the hype level up. In what turned out to be the final issue of Games For Windows Magazine, the massive Sims 3 preview included a description of some similar prototypes that were supposed to be released on 1up.com. They never were. I hold out hope that Maxis is going to do something similar and trickle them out as that game's release nears next year.

Spore is just a little over three weeks away at this point, coming out on Sunday September 7th. I hope for many more prototypes to be released before then. In the meantime, get to downloading and let the rest of us know how you got that binary planetary system to form.
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#1 by BobJustBob
2008-08-16 04:22:51
Seriously. Try the Space prototype. Since they said there's not going to be a demo, this is the closest you're going to get. And it's impressively full-featured though still buggy or incomplete in places.

"That's not to say that games shouldn't have stories, I just think the story should be the player's story, and find more ways to celebrate and promote that, rather than the game designer's story that you're imposing upon them." - Will Wright
#2 by Trunks
2008-08-16 04:28:06
Join the PCFFL!

#3 by None-1a
2008-08-16 04:41:22
Or what kind of backlash this could cause; if people cancel planned purchases based on demos, are they likely to do the same here? Might these actually increase sales? It does seem like a nice way to lead up to release and keep the hype level up.


I'm kind of mixed on this. On one hand people really shouldn't be expecting rough prototypes to be representative of the final game like they do with a demo. Which should reduce the number of people canceling planned purchases because they don't run well or there's some glareing problem that pops up in the demo. On the other hand if they don't select what gets released very carefully there's a risk people will love something from the prototypes that either isn't very visible or was competely cut from the final game. If that happens people may well lose interest simply becuase some feature they liked has never been talked about in previews or early reviews.

Don't forget garnishes such as: Fish shaped solid waste.
#4 by BobJustBob
2008-08-16 05:04:47
It's actually more of an issue now that I've played the Space prototype, it being so much closer to the final game than the others. And you run out of stuff to do fast. You can buy all the upgrades pretty quickly, colonize a couple of other planets, wipe out some alien civilizations, and there's nothing else to do. People might decide the full game is like that since many of them already have that preconception. Of course the prototype is missing pretty much all of the missions and diplomacy and some more advanced features (some of which, like the planet buster, are commented out in one of the data files; haven't tried uncommenting them to see if they work) and the huge part of the game that is discovering species created by other people. But people love making snap judgments, especially when the judgments reinforce their existing opinions.

On the other hand, these prototypes haven't been getting much attention. It was reported on major gaming sites when the first one went up, but since then I've had to just keep checking back to find new ones.

"That's not to say that games shouldn't have stories, I just think the story should be the player's story, and find more ways to celebrate and promote that, rather than the game designer's story that you're imposing upon them." - Will Wright
#5 by Ng Yo
2008-08-16 07:03:31
the 5th element

YAY!!!!


/last post

§ Pimp of  Mario's World. Hater of society. §
#6 by m0nty
2008-08-16 09:49:04
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Hey Mario, I hear you're now trolling QT3. Good work, I knew you'd come good one day. Keep it up.
#7 by G-Man
2008-08-16 10:04:54
Was that him trolling Warren today in the Lara Croft thread?
#8 by Ng Yo
2008-08-16 10:29:40
excuse me but i did say "last post"

anyway you are sooooooo wrong monty... i am not a troll and am not "trolling".
i simply express personal opinion which is often mistaken by the haters.
it's because i'm different...

§ Pimp of  Mario's World. Hater of society. §
#9 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 10:55:24
fuck you, littlewood.

#10 by lwf
2008-08-16 10:59:39
What?

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#11 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:03:55
why the fuck did you just ban me from irc?

#12 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:04:40
Because you are a spambot.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#13 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:04:57
And you're a fucking douchebag.

#14 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:05:39
and besides, it's not like it was interrupting any conversations. The place was dead.

#15 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:07:42
Nobody cares if you spam IRC anyway. But you can't be banned from here.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#16 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:11:05
If nobody cares, then why the ban in the first place?

#17 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:14:05
Because I can't do it here.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#18 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:15:02
Okay fine. Just for that. I'll spam every fucking thread on this site. Just to piss you off.

#19 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:15:38
I look forward to it.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#20 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:18:22
lwf is a fucking douchebag.

#21 by gaggle
2008-08-16 11:22:06
I'm not going to try any prototypes, certainly not until I've played the real deal. I feel almost certain they'd taint my perception of the game, and if they're not polished then it really will be tainting. I react unfavorably to the smell of half-finished products.

Of course I agree it's a fantastic thing that these prototypes are released, and I hope to enjoy them at some point, but I reaaaaally would've kept these 'till after launch. As "demo" material I'd rather they had focused on at lot of cool videos and interview and stuff. Sell me on the game the old fashioned way.


But, at the end of the day... I'll probably just be buying this regardless. I know I like to scream No Demo  No Buy but this is Spore... I already find it appealing. Will probably wait for some reviews and metacritic scores to pop in *shrug*


Ps: Wow the iPhone sure is fast to type on when I put it in horizontal-mode and lie it on a surface. It ain't ten-finger speeds but it is fully the two-finger "system".

"GUY WHO OUTRANKS YOU: Take Superfly here and reconfooble the energymotron."
#22 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:23:10
I'll race you on my treo.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#23 by gaggle
2008-08-16 11:23:27
How did that plonk list work again?

"GUY WHO OUTRANKS YOU: Take Superfly here and reconfooble the energymotron."
#24 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:24:21
Blame lwf. He's the fucker that made me do it.

#25 by OwenButler
2008-08-16 11:26:56
http://blog.owenbutler.org/
#23 by gaggle

How did that plonk list work again?

It only works if you shut the fuck up about it.

#26 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:26:57
Don't blame me, Squeaky made me ban him from IRC.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#27 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:27:23
If you'd just unban me, this will stop.

#28 by gaggle
2008-08-16 11:29:49
It's cute that you respond to threads and think your words have meaning to the rest of us. Your path of trolldom is your own choice, one I can only assume you'll grow tired of eventually. Now fuck off, etc. etc,  go play with Joker.

"GUY WHO OUTRANKS YOU: Take Superfly here and reconfooble the energymotron."
#29 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:33:43
There are lots of other people in IRC that can unban you. But nobody has.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#30 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:41:04
Looks like someone has. Anyway, that was a fun little diversion. Hugs and kisses, lwf. We should do it again sometime. Actually, lets not.

#31 by lwf
2008-08-16 11:45:36
Actually, I just didn't ban you thoroughly enough.

Once bread becomes toast, it can never go back. Wii.
#32 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 11:46:12
I see that now.

#33 by Greg
2008-08-16 16:19:00
Botdog resets all bans every hour or two, or something.

#34 by LPMiller
2008-08-16 16:41:06
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
wtf Squeaky, are you four? I don't give a fuck that you got banned for an hour by your boyfriend, spamming the threads is retarded.

"Testiculos habet et bene pendentes" - "He has testicles, and they dangle nicely."

"LP, your big balls are a religion." - Jibble
#35 by m0nty
2008-08-16 16:47:44
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
LPMiller (#34):
wtf Squeaky, are you four? I don't give a fuck that you got banned for an hour by your boyfriend, spamming the threads is retarded.

Quoted for truth and great justice.
#36 by CheesyPoof
2008-08-16 18:38:06
#24 by Squeaky
Blame lwf. He's the fucker that made me do it.

Lifeless fucker.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#37 by BobJustBob
2008-08-16 18:56:29
gaggle, the prototypes are not meant as demos. Most of them are purely abstract simulations.

"That's not to say that games shouldn't have stories, I just think the story should be the player's story, and find more ways to celebrate and promote that, rather than the game designer's story that you're imposing upon them." - Will Wright
#38 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 19:02:07
Holy shit was I an asshole last night. I'm sorry everyone had to put up with that. :(

#39 by mgns
2008-08-16 19:12:39
You should post that in every thread you spammed.

A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?
#40 by jjohnsen
2008-08-16 19:20:01
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Which prototype is the best Bob?  They all sound like more work than fun by the simple descriptions.

#41 by G-Man
2008-08-16 19:26:22
I'm going to try them all today. Thanks for the heads up Bob.
#42 by gaggle
2008-08-16 19:49:31
#37 by BobJustBob
gaggle, the prototypes are not meant as demos. Most of them are purely abstract simulations.

Yeah that makes sense, and I like them in that context, which is why I won't try them to see if I like the full game because I'd get my signals crossed. My post was in response to this, if it wasn't clear:

Seriously. Try the Space prototype. Since they said there's not going to be a demo, this is the closest you're going to get.


"GUY WHO OUTRANKS YOU: Take Superfly here and reconfooble the energymotron."
#43 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 20:20:15
So I finished WoW. What other games are there to play?

#44 by BobJustBob
2008-08-16 20:29:39
ParticleMan, BIOME, and Cell Culture are purely abstract. The first is the gravitation simulator, the second is generalized cellular automata, and the third is a sort of population simulation.

City Maze is a Sims/Simcity type thing where you build factories for your dots to work at and homes for them to sleep in between shifts. And then triangles attack every once in a while and you have to build guns to shoot them down. Not sure what's up with that. It's fun as a game for a few minutes, but I'm not sure what value it holds as a simulation. Maybe it can be tweaked/modified. Most of them can.

SPUG is basically the Creature phase from Spore. Venture out from your nest and kill things to slate your ever-increasing hunger, and try not to die. It's hard, but you can cheat and tweak the variables a lot.

Space is the Space phase. You start on a planet and can venture out to terraform other planets, seeding them with life from your own. Once you buy an interstellar drive you can visit other solar systems and find alien races. It's the most like a real game of the lot. If you only try one, this is the one.

"That's not to say that games shouldn't have stories, I just think the story should be the player's story, and find more ways to celebrate and promote that, rather than the game designer's story that you're imposing upon them." - Will Wright
#45 by Greg
2008-08-16 20:47:50
Squeaky - grats on killing Kil'jaeden.

#46 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 20:50:41
Who?

#47 by Greg
2008-08-16 20:59:33
Then you didnt beat WoW. :P

#48 by Squeaky
2008-08-16 21:03:02
Really? That sucks. Guess I have to play some more!

#49 by McBain
2008-08-16 23:48:09
I just bought Soul Calibur 4 for PS3.  Hopefully it is fun.

#50 by yotsuya
2008-08-16 23:59:42
What's this I read about lwf being a douchebag?
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